Too far was the answer I didn't get. While we trudged up one flight after another of stairs, I took the time to play around with the gadgets I had and found a map. The section that we were in, was an older section of the space station but concourse B was in one of the newer sections. When concourse B was centered on the map, we were down in the far left corner, zoomed out at 50%.
This was going to be a long walk.
"Keep it moving Munch," grunted Snake Eyes as he stepped on the back of my heels – again.
"I AM moving," I replied snottily, "Thank you very much." And just to spite him, I slowed down even more, eliciting a string of phrases in a foreign language that I could only assume were swear words.
"Dru!" Broken Nose snapped from where he was waiting on the next landing. His headlamp shone down on us. I smirked at the unspoken rebuke until his focus changed to me. "Ms Munch, I would've figured a professional such as yourself would be above such petty, childish tactics." He sounded irritated and disappointed.
I know. I was disappointed with myself too. I was above such petty, childish action and yet…I couldn't help it.
What was wrong with me?
By the time we had reached the landing, all three of us were in a bad mood. Broken Nose stood there, arms crossed, looking at his partner as he came up behind me.
"I'm taking point." Dru said, pushing past Broken Nose. Broken Nose didn't say anything, other than held up a foil packaged bar that Dru grabbed as he walked by.
He held one out to me, saying "You're not you when you're hungry." My jaw dropped as I took the bar from him. Broken Nose winked, gesturing for me to go first. I started up the stairs, peeling the foil back and sniffed the bar, as Broken Nose brought up the rear, opening his own bar. "It's a meal replacement bar - not poison."
I shot a glance back at him, then took a cautious bite. I've heard that line before. Sometimes it was poison. But this wasn't. I took a second look at the bar. A mottled brown, there looked like there was chunks of something… determined not to think too much about what that could be. I took a second nibble. The taste was familiar…
"Pemmican?" I asked, surprised, looking back at Broken Nose.
"Keep climbing, Munch," he chastised as he came level with me. "In a way, yes." Sensing that I wasn't going to get much more from him about this mysterious bar, I finished the bar in silence, turning my attention back to figuring out what my wearable devices did.
The cuff I was wearing was actually a tablet that could be folded length wise in half and then around a cylindrical object (like a wrist). Taking it off and smoothing it flat with my hand changed the interface so that it functioned like a smartphone from the 21st century. Unfolding it caused it to become a tablet.
I folded it in half, then curved it around my wrist and it switched to an smartwatch interface, if smart watches were the same size as a credit card. I already knew that my earbud had an eye shield function and was paired with my wrist device (somehow). But what else could it do?
I tapped my earbud and suddenly I was looking at a very detailed display of what was happening around me. My eyes shifted to Dru's back and on the left of the display there was basic information about height, weight and approximate speed. I twisted back to look at Broken Nose; this time the display showed Last name, first name, species and job title. Curious, I raised my hand and looked at my palm. My information popped up: Munch, Alexandra. Human (F). For job title, it just said Explorer.
Was that a profession in – I checked my cuff – the year 3016? Not that it was really that important. I wouldn't be here long enough for it to matter to anyone, including me.
Shrugging it off, I looked up, stopping just in time to avoid walking into Dru's back. He stared at me, then looked over my head to Broken Nose.
"It's locked." Dru gestured to the heavy looking door ahead of him.
I glanced around. We were at the top of the stairwell. While I was distracted by figuring out my devices, we had climbed 24 flights of stairs.
Time really does fly when you're distracted.
Broken Nose pushed past me, and knelt before the door. A thought occurred to me.
"You said that the doors had an independent power source." I frowned, getting closer to see what he was doing.
Dru grunted, unholstering his weapon as he shifted aside for us. Broken Nose looked up at me and handed me something flat, saying "Hold this." I took it, slightly confused.
"If that's true, why is this door locked?"
"That's what I'm trying to figure out." He had pulled unscrewed a panel next to the door, exposing neat rows of wiring and appeared to be checking them with a volt meter – or something similar.
"Hm," I said mostly to myself. "Power disruption, maybe? But why only this door? Why not the rest?" An exasperated sigh came from Dru's direction.
"Maybe something happened. I need the battery pack," He stuck a hand out and I gave him back the device. I watched as he plugged it into a port, crossing my fingers. A tiny light lit up and he tapped his fob against the sensor.
There was a godawful buzz, then a click. Dru quickly opened the door and ushered me through as Broken Nose put everything back together. I stole a peek at the map on my wrist, wondering how far left we had to go.
I jumped, looking behind me. It was the door, slamming shut behind Broken Nose. Oh be still my beating heart.
"Still got a ways to go, Munch," Dru said impatiently, having moved to the front again. He waved us forward and off we went, in single file.